The Big Snowy Mountains in central Montana may be one of the least visited mountain ranges in the state. I hiked into one corner of the range last week and we saw no other recreationalists. Of course, that could be because the trailhead into the corner we visited is not marked along the road. But I heard from other hikers that the Snowies see fewer visitors overall and some trails offer great opportunities to have an unusual place all to yourself.
The Snowies are located south of Lewistown. They rise to more than 8,000 feet, about 4,000 feet above the wheat fields below. Many of the drainages feature large limestone outcrops, much like the Dearborn and Smith river drainages. Deer, elk, bear and mountain lions live in the mountain range, which is part of the Lewis and Clark National Forest.
Crystal Lake is probably the most popular site in the Big Snowies. But the popular camping, boating and fishing spot is closed to vehicle access right now. Last year’s heavy moisture caused a landslide the wiped out the access road, which still hasn’t been repaired.
To read about the Big Snowy Mountains, log on to http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/
This post was provided by Brett French, the Outdoors Editor at the Billings Gazette.